49ers: 3 veterans in danger of losing their roster spots

49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers have a talented roster and three veterans could be on the outside looking in.

As we can all see what’s happening in the world around us, the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL — along with other major sports organizations — are gearing up for a possible fan-less season.

Perhaps the move may help keep fans entertained and distracted enough while the outside world returns to some sort of normalcy. Until that happens, let’s delve into what veterans may be in danger of losing their jobs for the 49ers.

Since the new regime of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan began in 2017, the 49ers have completely overhauled the roster and are now in a position to enjoy sustained success.

In order for that to happen, rotational players need to be as good as the starters and San Francisco has done a wonderful job of building a competitive roster from top to bottom.

1. Jason Verrett could lose his roster spot with the 49ers

One of those rotational players with great upside is cornerback Jason Verrett. The former first-round pick has been plagued by injuries since entering the league. In fact, Verrett only played double-digit games once (2015) in his seven-year pro career.

Coincidentally, that was the same year Verrett earned a trip to his first and so far only Pro Bowl. When the 49ers brought Verrett over in 2019 on a one-year deal, the vision was to have him paired opposite of veteran cornerback Richard Sherman to help patrol the young secondary.

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However, that tandem has yet to materialize but should get another opportunity since the 49ers decided to re-sign Verrett this past off-season.

The move can be seen as a strong vote of confidence from 49ers brass, which is not something new especially when there is an overwhelming amount of belief in that player.

2. Jerick McKinnon could lose his roster spot with the 49ers

Just ask running back Jerick McKinnon. Interestingly enough, McKinnon also happens to be another veteran player on my “danger zone” list.

The biggest concern for McKinnon during his third consecutive rehabbing season is the mental hurdle. Every athlete has experienced this process in some way shape or form and the extreme competitors always find a way to bounce back.

Even if the 49ers can only have McKinnon healthy enough for at least 85 percent of the season, it will still be viewed as a productive year for him since he will be working back from two injury-riddled seasons.

Just like McKinnon, Verrett had high hopes when San Francisco decided to take a chance on him and now he has a golden opportunity to solidify his role this season. However, if he should struggle or have another setback, his days will be numbered in the Bay.

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3. Travis Benjamin could lose his roster spot with the 49ers

My next selection for the “endangered veteran” category is Travis Benjamin. I’m pretty sure head coach Kyle Shanahan would love to hang on to another speedster such as Benjamin.

With the current depth at the wide receiver position, I just don’t see him sticking on the roster come Week 1.

However, this is the NFL and stranger things have happened, but barring any unforeseen injuries, off-field activities, or anything out of the ordinary, I can’t imagine Benjamin beating out some of the young talented receivers of that group.

I believe there’s only one other player that will be in close running with Benjamin and that’s the third-year receiver, Richie James. My reasoning for this particular comparison is because of their ability to flip field position in the special teams game.

If San Francisco can find some more creative ways to get James involved in the offense, Benjamin may find himself on the outside looking in. With a 27.5 yards-per-catch average in 2019, James has proven that he can be another weapon in Shanahan’s complex offense.

Although Benjamin played one season under Shanahan during his offensive coordinator days in Cleveland, that will not be enough to replace youth and talent.

There is still a very good outside chance that Benjamin makes the team so this will be one of the more intriguing position battles to watch develop as we get closer to Week 1.

Next. 49ers land Jameis Winston in ESPN’s 4-round NFL re-draft. dark

The 49ers will look to defend their NFC Championship title and make another Super Bowl run in the process. The strength of the team is in their depth along with their leadership.

This is an extremely important combination to have within an organization, one cannot thrive without the other and I’m glad the franchise figured it out once again.